How to Plan High School at Home Tags: homeschooling home education
Coming up on the high school years, I was more than a little nervous. We had been homeschooling for years, but the thought of doing high school at home gave me pause.  Yet my 2e daughter was thriving in our homeschool.
So to find out more, I checked out some high school blogs, talked with my homeschool friends, and my sister, who had already graduated one of her kids. That helped a lot.  
We decided to go ahead and homeschool all the way and we am so glad that we did.  My daughter is a junior in college now, studying leadership and communications. She is loving it!  Homeschooling high school has prepared her well and kept our family relationships strong, through the all important teen years.
Today I'd like to share 4 steps for planning high school at home. 
Let's start with --- Graduation Requirements as knowing them can really help with your planning........
1. Graduation Requirements

When I talked with my homeschool friends about high school, they said to start at the end, not the beginning..

What? They recommended looking at where my teen might be heading, once she graduated from our homeschool. 

By looking at what your teen will need to graduate, that will tell you what core courses will be needed, and that is a good starting point.
Since my daughter wanted to go to college, we researched the college entrance requirements at a few colleges that she might like to attend.  That gave us a list of core studies that she needed to complete.  

I have more tips on determining what your teen will need when applying, in my book, below.  But basically, it is just a researching job, where you pick likely colleges, and check their websites for admission requirements.
If your teen is not heading to college, you will likely have a lot of leeway, as to what courses to do in high school.  
Most states give the parents a lot of choice as to what to study during the high school years and when to graduate your student from homeschool.  But some states do not.

So it's important to know the Homeschool Graduation Requirements for your state, just in case you are in one of those states that do have homeschool grad requirements.  That way, you would know what was required, then you could easily add in all the extras, like electives, field trips, etc.

Here's resources for that, but keep in mind....Many states do not set out a specific list of homeschool graduation requirements....In WA state, for example, we got to decide on all of our high school courses ourselves.
To find out more about this in your state, I suggest connecting with your state homeschooling group. This link lists all of them, throughout our country.  They usually have a website that includes this information.  

Important Note - You do NOT have to do the public school high school graduation requirements for your state, as a homeschooler.  

Re ---- Community College ----

Most community colleges will test your teen in math and english as an entrance requirement, but not all community colleges do that. 

Many also have early entrance available for students who are wanting to do dual credit, and finish up their high school years while taking community college classes.

Now that we finished talking about graduation requirements, our second step was to consider what special interests our teen had, or was interested in developing...
2.  Special Interests and Electives 
Irish Dance
My husband and I talked a lot with our daughter about her needs and interests.  My teen was excited about learning video-making, doing some photography, and taking irish dance classes.  

We made sure to leave lots of room in our plan for developing these interests. If your teen doesn't know what they are interested in yet, they will have plenty of time to discover that during their high school years.

Here is a list I made of more than 100 High School Electives and activities, if you are looking for ideas on that.  It includes a new high school video based art program here.
Don't forget the play and electives, too.
What are your teen's interests and gifts?  High school at home allows us to foster, grow, and encourage them!  And homeschooling gives your teen lots more time to explore their own interests and discover their talents and gifts.

High school electives and activities can also help with getting into college.

Thirdly, here's some tips for choosing your high school curriculum...

3.  Choosing Curriculum
We explored around as usual, choosing the textbooks, living books, and/or online courses that seemed to be a good fit for our teen.  We worked to meet our teen's interests and along with her college entrance requirements, since she wanted to go to college.  And we found that it wasn't that hard to do....

My teen needed to complete her requirements in the basic subjects (LA, social studies, math, foreign language and science) and to meet the specifics for these that her colleges required for admission.  But, we still also focused on her her interests.  They framed her electives.  
Field Trips are important to us, too.  
For example, we did a course in Government for one of her social studies requirements and found some community activities centering around this interest as well.  And video making became more than one of her homemade electives. 

Here's two resources that got us started in our curriculum search:
-1. --- CURRICULUM DIRECTORY at Let's Homeschool High School
This curriculum directory for high school is the most complete one I have seen!  And it includes TONS of links!

-2. --- THE CURRICULULUM CHOICE is full of curriculum reviews from a team of veteran homeschoolers, and I am honored to be one of them.

For more ideas on curricula, I share our favorites and some from my friends in my new ebook, which is mentioned below.

Finally, we went about setting up our best guesses for what courses to do when, in an overall high school plan.....

4.  Making Your Overall Plan
Involve your teen in the process.

One thing that really helped us, was to create an overall plan for high school.  Of course, it was tweeted many times....

We just made our best guesses for what to do when...and wrote it out on notebook paper.  This helped us to feel confident, as I knew that I would not forget something that my daughter needed to get done before graduation.  My ebook will have a printable for making your overall high school plan.

Homeschooling high school is a gift to you, your teen, and your family.  
What are your favorite tricks of tips for planning high school?  I love getting your comments,  and they can help encourage other families as well.  

Have you seen my new book yet, called Homeschooling High School with College in Mind?  (Click the title to reach the kindle version.)  Get my best tips on college from a homeschool perspective.

Homeschoolers are being widely accepted by colleges, especially when they have good course descriptions and quality reference letters coming along for the ride. 

It's a simple guide to college prep, with tips for making the admissions process easier.  
This book is also available in print.
Read it for FREE on Prime.
Vicki Tillman, college planner from 7 Sisters says:
"This is a terrific resource for homeschooling parents...and I can attest that the information is spot on, chock full of resources with lots of helpful forms!"

More high school posts are on Pinterest here: Homeschooling High School Pinterest Board

I also invite you to join us at the facebook group that I moderate at College Discussions for Homeschoolers.  Lots of great info here! 
 Thanks so much for stopping by!

Betsy is a veteran homeschooler who blogs at BJ's Homeschoolabout the early yearshigh school and college too. 

This post was shared on my favorite linkups here.

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 copyright 2016, all rights reserved
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Category: Parenting
Tags: torch parenting web solutions
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Reevaluation and Renewal - Senior Year Tags: homeschooling home education high school

Awe, the holidays.  Time with family, time to slow down and appreciate all the important things that we have in our lives. Usually the last week of December is a quiet time in our house. We often, then find some time to get together, as a family, and do some talking about family things and our homeschool.

Once January rolls around, we are looking towards the new year and thinking about our goals for our homeschool, and how things have been going so far.  Some years, we do a re-evaluation more formally. That is what we did one year, when my daughter was a senior in our homeschool.  

That year, we sat down to do our winter reevaluation, going over the homeschooling courses and activities for we had done that year.  Some of the courses and activities we definitely planned to keep, others we considered dropping or adjusting, if they were not such a good fit.  

It felt good to work this out together.  And by doing this, we energized our homeschool!  Here's what we covered for our....

 Senior Year Re-evaluation

Homeschool Course Goals - We talked about what needed to get done, in relation to college entrance requirements, for her last semester of homeschool.  
One of my teen's colleges required either Physics or a math related course like Statistics.  My daughter chose to do the physics, and we used SOS from for that.  We liked the lessons in SOS, and the videos that they included in them.  
When questions came up, my teen used their tutoring service, which was available by the 1/2 hour, but this was not free.  We decided to look for other tutoring help online for the rest of the year.  Along with that my daughter had English, social studies, and two electives to finish.

For English, we were doing our own homemade course in American Lit, which I will be sharing about more in another post.  Anyway, it was going well.  The hardest thing for my teen was learning how to do a detailed bibliography for her research paper.  

Making your own English Course

For social studies, we used Oak Meadow, and we liked their American history course, and then picked activities from their curriculum that interested my daughter.  I like their activities as the are very creative and worthwhile.  They offer used curricula through Amazon, called Oak Meadow Seconds.

Our colleges wanted to see their applicants doing a solid year of study during senior year, so we added in two electives, even though she had enough credits already to graduate.  One of these was video making, which was so FUN to help her with.

The other elective was also homemade, and we called it College Planner.  I noticed that a lot of public school teens had a course by that name on their transcripts, so we decided to make one ourselves.  Our colleges accepted this as a high school credit.

That way, my daughter earned credit for her SAT prep work and other college related activities, like working on her personal essay, filling out her applications, etc.  We just kept track of all the hours, for one semester, and the credit was accepted by her college. 

Balancing it out with PE, bible study, and down time for my daughter was critical.

Curriculum -  Some curriculum we definitely planned to keep, such as our Switched On Schoolhouse (SOS) courses, from  We had made switches in math curriculum last year, from Teaching Textbooks to SOS.  That helped her with math retention, as SOS had more repetition of key concepts, which was helpful for my teen.
Study Schedule - At this point, my teen drew up her own study schedule, based on a list of assignments that I gave her at the beginning of the week.  This should help her prepare for college studies next year, when she will be even more independent.

Activities - Do we have enough, or do we have too much?  We decided to not do one activity, Mock Trial, as things were just too busy.  She also decided that irish dance was a little too much, and decided to drop that for the rest of senior year.

We continued with Youth and Government (Y and G), as it was my teen's favorite activity, and she loved learning about politics.  She also could list it as a leadership activity on her college application.  

My daughter's Y and G delegation was full of homeschoolers, and most groups meet at their local YMCA. Below, they are meeting to practice their debate skills.

Youth and Government is a YMCA sponsored activity that hosts a "mock legislature" every year, where teens gather at the state capital, from around the state.  The teens write their own mock bills, debate them, and then work to pass them in their mock legislature in May.  There are lots more leadership activities in my 100 High School Electives post.

After the intensity of all of this planning work, we piled into the car, and headed out for a road trip with our cameras.

It was a glorious, clear, blue sky day, and we wanted to take advantage of it.  And going on a drive has been a great way for us to have 1on 1 "down time" together!  We stopped by this beach....


This river was nearby....


I am hoping for many more excursions like this, with my senior this year.

It is such a wonderful way to be renewed, especially during the winter months.

And after the work of re-evaluating!

Update - My daughter, a junior in college now, is going to be doing an internship in politics, something she became interested in during her homeschool years. It will be so fun to see, re) how she likes it, and where that may lead her as far as a career goal.  And we are still taking mini-road trips, I am so happy to report that!

So for another fun thing, she and my hubby went on a holiday boat trip recently, as is our tradition, for some dad and daughter time.  I went to the neighborhood bonfire with church friends and saw them at the dock, afterwards....


Then I had to take a picture of them getting off the boat...

After that, my daughter got this photo of us...
To encourage other families with college bound teens, I just finished my very first book called Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.  
Homeschoolers are being widely accepted by colleges, especially when they have good course descriptions and quality reference letters coming along for the ride.  How to do those, the way that the colleges want to see them, is included in this book:
Kindle is on Amazon @ $7.17 
In print on Amazon @ $ 9.19 
Read it for FREE Amazon Prime.  
Click on Amazon to read a sample  chapter. ("look inside")
"Have you wondered about how to calculate your teen's GPA, how to assign credits, or how to create a transcript?  It's all in there! The included downloads are wonderful resources as well.  Thank you, Betsy, for writing this amazing book.  Once again, you've set my mind at ease!"
.....from Kelly Maddeck, President of Washington State's Homeschool Support Association
I wrote this book in an effort to help homeschoolers with their questions about college prep and how to share their student's accomplishments with the colleges.  

Do you like to do a winter re-evaulation?  What do you do when you feel a need to be renewed?  I really do love hearing from you all, in the comments.
Homeschooling High School / It is so worth it!  Here's resources for homeschooling your teen, and enjoying the teen years.
 / by Betsy Sproger

Homeschooling high school yielded us so many gifts, for my daughter, for our family, and for her high school education.


Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,
Betsy is mom to her 20 year old college student whom she homeschooled from day one.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school & college and wrote a new e-book for College Bound teens She offers free homeschool help and messages at BJ's Consulting.
Want to stay in touch?
This post was shared on my favorite linkups here.

Copyright, 2016, All Rights Reserved


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Wednesday, January 18, 2017
How to Plan High School at Home
Monday, January 09, 2017
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Thursday, January 05, 2017
Reevaluation and Renewal - Senior Year
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